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Irish national plan for district heating launched

Irish national plan for district heating launched
Fully operating since 2017, the 60 MWe/90 MWth Dublin waste-to-energy (WtE) facility diverts over 600,000 tonnes of residual waste from landfills every year, providing enough baseload electricity to power over 100,000 average Irish homes. A public-private partnership (PPP) between Dublin City Council (acting on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities) and three private entities: Encyclis, DIF Capital Partners, and MEAG, the heat-ready plant is part of the Dublin District Heating Project (photo courtesy Encyclis).

In Ireland, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment, Eamon Ryan TD, has launched the District Heating Steering Group Report at the Dublin Waste to Energy facility in Ringsend, Dublin.

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District heating can play a key role in improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions in Ireland. These networks can use renewable technologies to decarbonize the heat sector, can offer flexibility in heat sources, and can provide the ability to adapt to changes in the economic and policy landscape.

District heating currently accounts for a very small share of the Irish heating sector; estimated to be significantly less than 1 percent, representing one of the lowest shares of district heating in Europe.

We must radically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and transition to more sustainable, low-carbon alternatives — particularly to heat our buildings. District heating has a key role to play in that and I am delighted to be able to launch our District Heating Steering Group report here in Poolbeg, Minister Ryan said at the Dublin Waste to Energy (WtE) facility.

Significant potential

The contribution that district heating can make to Ireland’s energy and climate goals has long been recognized and has been underpinned by the findings of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) National Heat Study 2022, which found that up to 54 percent of heat demand in Ireland could be provided by district heating from renewable heat.

To deliver on that potential, a District Heating Steering Group was established to coordinate the development of district heating policy.

The Climate Action Plan 2023 commits to implementing the recommendations of the District Heating Steering Group report and to delivering up to 2.7 TWh of district heating by 2030.

The Dublin District Heating Project, which will be led by Dublin City Council is a really exciting project which also has the potential to help us largely meet our district heat ambitions. It will capture waste heat generated at the Dublin Waste to Energy facility, which is currently flowing into Dublin Bay, and instead turn that flow of energy towards the city to pipe hot water into homes and businesses in the Poolbeg, Ringsend, and Docklands areas and up into historic Georgian Dublin, Minister Ryan said.

The first district heat network operational

The Minister opened Ireland’s first district heating network in Tallaght in April this year.

Using waste heat from the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Data Centre in Tallaght, that project is now providing low-carbon heat to Dublin South County Council public buildings and Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), with further plans to provide heat to 133 affordable apartments by 2025.

We’re already seeing the positive impact of waste energy for heat from the data centre in Tallaght, and now with this report we can plan to replicate this throughout the country, heating our homes and buildings in a more sustainable way, making them warmer, healthier and more cost-efficient, Minister Ryan said.

The District Heating Steering Group Report 2023 is the culmination of the Steering Group’s work over the past 18 months.

The Steering Group recommendations set the foundation for the development of district heating in Ireland.

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